Two missing young boys were discovered alive early Thanksgiving morning after an officer had a hunch they were buried in five feet of snow.
At 3 a.m. Thanksgiving morning, a police officer saw a shovel handle sticking out of a spot near where the boys were last reported playing. Following a hunch, he began to dig. Fellow volunteers joined in and soon uncovered a child’s snow boot.
Cousins Elijah Martinez, 11, and Jason Rivera, 9, were building a snow fort about 7 p.m. Wednesday night when a snow plow came through Newburgh, New York, where they were playing near their homes. The plow driver did not see the boys and inadvertently piled a mountain of additional snow onto the snow bank in which they were building a snow fort. This caused the fort to collapse, leaving them under several feet of heavy snow.
When they did not come in for the night, their parents alerted officials that the boys were missing. Parents, volunteers, and police officers canvassed the neighborhood in very cold temperatures, fearing the worst.
Panic turned to joy when the rescuers realized that not only were the children alive, they were not even harmed – just very cold. They were taken to the hospital for observation but released in the early morning hours of Thanksgiving.
The children said that when the snow plow came through, they were inside the snow fort they were building, and it caused it to collapse around them, although it left a dome like area above their heads that allowed them to breathe and speak to each other. They tried digging out during the seven hours they were buried, but could not budge the heavy snow.
Police Officer Brandon Rola noticed the shovel sticking out of the snow bank, and said he didn’t know why, but he felt compelled to dig. After seven or eight shovelfuls of snow he hit a child’s boot, and a frantic rescue ensued, as none of the volunteers had any other shovels with them.
“Officers were running around flagging down trucks, trying to see if anyone in the area had a shovel.
We were using (EMTs’) back braces to try to remove snow. People were clawing at it. Eventually, between good Samaritans, truck drivers coming by with shovels in their beds, we were able et a decent amount of shovels.”
Elijah said he and his cousin feared they would die, but stayed calm and continued to encourage each other.
“We motivated each other to not go to sleep, keep yelling, keep moving our bodies, because I knew if we would’ve fallen asleep, we probably wouldn’t have woke up because we would be so cold, frozen probably.”
Applause rang out as the boys were uncovered alive and well.
[images via 13abcnews]